About Us

Who We Are

SCHIPPERHAVEN is the website of Don and Dot Ferris. Dot retired in 2006 from the US Customs Service/Homeland Security. Don retired in 2001 after 40+ years in the Advertising and Direct Marketing business in New York, Boston and northern Virginia.

We shed our last boat in 2004 and began RV travel.  Graduating from our “tag-along” to , a 39 foot fifth-wheel in 2007, we spent five years — three of them full-time — traveling through all of the lower 48 states.  We occasionally visited our “stick home” in Churchton, Maryland, but finding ourselves there less and less often, we sold the house in 2014 and relocated our base to a home in Beverly Hills, Florida where we had been  “snowbirds” for several winters.

Our Lifestyle Evolution

In the first decade of this millennium, we not only retired but experienced three events that re-directed our lives:

  • 2002:  We lose Barnacle…and connect to the Schipperke nation.

In 1990, we rescued a two year old Schipperke (Belgian Barge Dog). Barnacle became an integral part of our family, and when he died in 2002, he left behind an everlasting love for the breed and instilled a commitment to rescue in us.  Since then, we have adopted nine additional Schips and spent hundreds of hours engaged in rescue and breed-improvement services all over the country. Our website name, Schipperhaven, is the name of our rescue organization.

  • 2004:  Don takes on a challenge to fulfill a dream. 

On his first visit to Nantucket Island in 1952, Don discovered the beauty and tradition of the historic Nantucket Lightship Basket. His love for them was nurtured through dozens of subsequent visits, and 52 years later, he became an artisan and teacher of this historic craft.

  • 2009:  We evolve our RV lifestyle into a full-time adventure.

We bought our first RV in 2004 and transitioned from a lifetime of sailing to “land-yachting.” Early years found us on 2-day to two week trips, plus winter snowbirding. Then wanderlust increased —  the more we saw, the more we realized there was to see. Moving up to a more livable unit, we took increasingly longer trips before finally committing to a 36 month sojourn to all of the lower 48 states from 2009-12. Our goals were three: explore, learn, and document. The Journey contains 106 chapters with over 4,000 pictures! The story of our subsequent travels continues as part of this site.

After The Journey we spent six months in Beverly Hills, Florida and summer months on the road.  That left little time for enjoying our Bayview home, much less keeping it up.  When I asked Dot where else she’d like to live, she said, “Sandy Oaks, of course.”  Thus, our snowbird home became our permanent address with the acquisition of a large, 34 year old “double-wide” in the Resort, which we have since converted to a traditional home.  The story of this, our second total renovation, is covered elsewhere in this site.

Share and benefit from our experiences

If you have interest in any of our major pursuits, we hope you’ll come along with us. Each is covered in greater depth on this site, from their roots in our lives to the results of our experiences. Learn more about Schipperkes and take advantage of us. Travel with us as we continue to expand our knowledge of our diverse Nation. Check out the heritage of Nantucket Lightship Baskets and decide whether you might like to own one or more–or try your hand at making them.


4 thoughts on “About

  1. I am a disabled veteran of the army. Rocky Mountain Avalanche is my first Schipperke, a friend, constant companion, and service dog. When he passed away on Sept 15, 2014 it felt like half of my life went with him. I love Rocky so much and miss him dearly. Do you rescue Schipperkes for others to enjoy their life too?

    • I would like to hear more about you and Rocky. We will do everything we can to help you. We do not have a “pool” of rescue Schips but we are in constant touch with sources all over the country. Please respond via e-mail to the address you’ll find on our website and we’ll be glad to work with you. Best wishes.

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